Category Archives: Project 3 – Ways of saying and seeing

Exercise 3 -close reading of Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas.

Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas

  • What’s the mood of the poem? How does it make you feel?

It is reminiscent of childhood, with a light golden mood, full of life and memories steeped in the beauty of nature. It makes me yearn for my childhood under stars, and next to the ocean, running free, next to the pacific ocean.

  • What poetic devices does Thomas use and what effect do they have on the poem? Use the list above to help you.

Google doc.

  • How do the poetic devices help evoke the themes of time and place? Can you identify any other theme running through this poem?


The metaphors and similes, and alliterations are all based on nature, on the surroundings.

The idea of time

  1. The poem starts with “Now as I was young”
  2. Time gave allowance to experience “Time let me hail and climb” , “Time let me play and be.”
  3. Endless days and endless nights night “In the sun born over and over”, “In the moon that is always rising”
  • What is the poem is saying about time and place (and any other theme you’ve identified)?

It speak of the freedom of childhood, experienced in nature “In the sun that is young once only.”

  • What lines or images stay with you? What do they remind you of or how do they make you feel?

I love the references to the sun and the moon, and the stars he encompasses the joy of a childhood into one day, or one summer, when time did not matter, or exist.. and the memories are worth a lifetime of experiences.

  • What’s the rhythm like? Is it choppy or is it flowing and smooth? How does the rhythm impact on the poem?

Very smooth, lyrical, and calm. Like the summer’s day he describes, “the rivers of the windfall light.”

  • Is the ‘speaker’ important? What are his views? Are they apparent or inferred?

Thomas speak from obvious childhood, first hand experience. The speaker’s apparent love for days/nights spent in nature, alone, are based on memories which are totally vivid, and alive.

  • Are there any lines you don’t get? Can you hazard a guess as to what they mean or allude to?



The last lines:

“Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,

Time held me green and dying

Though I sang in my chains like the sea.”

The rest of the poem is light, and beautiful, whereas these last few lined are dark and omniscient. I’m not sure what singing in chains like the sea, it feels like a contradiction, how can the sea be chained? I imagine Thomas is regretful of the inevitability of getting older, and loosing such freedoms through the constrains of responsibilities.